In an attempt to comfort people when they’re hurting, some say things like… “Don’t worry, it will be okay.” Truth is, it may or MAY NOT be okay or get better. It is right to “weep with those who weep” but not to give false hope. Actually, giving people false hope or a warm fuzzy is much worse than being honest.
Can you imagine what Job’s reaction would have been if his friends came to him in his darkest day and said… “Don’t worry buddy… it will get better!” Imagine if someone had visited John the Baptist in prison and told him… “Don’t worry. I’m sure God has a reason and things will get better.” OR, what if you were in prison… or your spouse just left you… or you’ve just been fired… or one of your children is in wanton rebellion. Imagine how you’d feel if in the midst of your heartache someone told you… “Don’t worry… I know things will be okay.” How would you react? If you’re honest… in a moment of lucidity… you’d most likely agree their words didn’t help, but may have even hurt.
Paul was hurting… deeply. He had an issue that caused him great pain and difficulty. Instead of asking others for encouragement… He prayed! And God told him, “It won’t get better. I won’t take it away. The pain will continue. I will give you my grace IN the midst of it. But I won’t take it away.” Harsh? Hardly! Paul’s response is found in 2 Cor 12:9-10…
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
We are called to comfort others (2 Cor 1:3-7), but only by speaking the truth in love… hard as it may be. Just a thought…
Ron, If I have a friend or relative in dire straits I usually tell them that God is in control and He wants what is best for us if we are believers. Am I wrong?
Luke, Bless you for thinking and not just reading! Here are a few thoughts…
Theologically you are not wrong at all! In fact, you are dead on target. However, there is a time for truth and a time for tears. If we give either at the wrong time there is the possibility of not being helpful. There are times when truth, ill timed, can wound a heart. It is usually better to “weep with those who weep.” Later, when the pain has lessened some… THEN we speak truth into their life. When a person is hurting they need comfort… our presence… our tears. Then… as they will eventually ask “Why me? Why this? Why now?”… THEN we go to the passages of truth. Discerning the difference between the two is from the Spirit.
When a person is dealing with a fresh wound, I usually just go be with them. I communicate my compassion for them. I pray with them. But I don’t often quote Scripture… at first. You can never go wrong by expressing your love and care for one who is hurting. And that I know you do through phone calls, cards, email, and other means.
Bless you Unka Luke!